Supreme Court fixes date to decide Saraki’s fate on alleged false asset declaration

Bukola Saraki
Senate President, Bukola Saraki [Photo: Sahara Reporters]

The Supreme Court on Thursday fixed July 6 to deliver judgment on the appeal filed by the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, in respect to the false asset declaration charges preferred against him.

The court will also deliver judgment on the cross appeal filed by the federal government with regard to the charges.

Justice Musa Dattijo, who presided over the matter, fixed the date for final judgment after taking arguments from both parties.

When the matter was called, Mr Saraki asked the court to dismiss the 18-count criminal charge of false asset declaration brought against him by the government.

He told the court that the charges against him were frivolous, adding that a prima facie case was not established against him at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, (CCT), that tried him.

The counsel to Mr Saraki, Kanu Agabi, while adopting his final address, insisted that the charges were brought against his client in bad faith by the government.

Mr Agabi said that the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) empowered to investigate Mr Saraki on asset declaration did not do so as required by law.

He said rather than CCB investigating Mr Saraki, a purported report of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was used to prepare the charges against him.

He argued that CCT was right in dismissing the charges during a ruling on Mr Saraki’s no -case -submission because the purported report of EFCC was regarded as hearsay in law.

Mr Agabi prayed the court to look into the testimony of the witnesses called by the government noting that all of them confirmed that there was no petition against Mr Saraki on his declared assets.

However, Rotimi Jacobs, counsel to the government, prayed the court to hold that Mr Saraki had a case to answer.

Mr Jacobs argued that there was no law that ordered that an investigation must be conducted by the CCB before charges could be filed against a defendant.

The federal government had arraigned Mr Saraki in 2015 at CCT on false assets declaration charges.

Mr Saraki was discharged and acquitted of the charges by the tribunal on the grounds that a prima facie case was not established against him.

The government then went on appeal and the Court of Appeal dismissed 15 out of the 18 count charges against Saraki. The appeal court, however, said he has a case to answer on the remaining three charges.

The appellate court in its judgment delivered on December 12, 2017, agreed that the dismissed 15 counts were based on hearsay and directed Mr Saraki to defend himself on the remaining three counts.

Mr Saraki subsequently headed to the Supreme Court praying it to dismiss all the charges.

(NAN)


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